This article introduces the previously unexamined Blackburn memoir of Florence Garstang (1870-1941). It contributes to women’s history by providing her response to injustices in the Blackburn cotton riots and to a gendered injustice that marked her own life. It reveals a creative, precariously upwardly-mobile Blackburn family, whose sons had unusually successful careers, whilst Florence became women’s editor on the Blackburn Standard. It shows her close relationship with her father, Dr Walter Garstang (1832-1899), rooted in values of self- and mutual improvement, continual learning, pride in local traditions and pleasure in books and the local newspaper culture. The article builds on Andrew Hobbs’ work by providing a previously unknown case study of a female participant in Blackburn newspaper culture. Dr Garstang’s work as a Blackburn Poor Law medical officer and in private practice is discussed as the context in which he asked Florence to sacrifice her Oxford dream.